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8 cm Hemangioma and Gallstones
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8 cm Hemangioma and Gallstones

I've had an hemangioma in my liver for the past 12 years. It started at approx. 6 cm and is 8 cm 12 years later. I never had any problems from it. Four years ago, during my annual sonogram, the tech pointed out the beginnings of tiny gallstones. Two years ago I started having intermittent gall bladder attacks, excruciatingly painful - sometimes for a few days then gone the way it came for months. Two months ago I had the worst attack ever and have had discomfort ever since. I have constant pain in the "gut" area generating around my back. If I take a deep breath or cough, the pain gets worse. When I palpate the area in my gut, it's very sore. I can't find a comfortable position for myself sitting or lying down. I went to the internist and surgeon. One surgeon said remove the gall bladder immediately and also that an 8 cm. hemangioma can rupture and/or become cancerous. All my research has told me that liver hemangiomas are benign.  

My main concern is the danger involved involved in removing a gall bladder when an 8 cm. hemangioma is sitting right next to it. I was told laser surgery is out of the question with an hemangioma present, but even if I have conventional gall bladder surgery, I understand it's dangerous due to the proximity of the hemangioma to the gall bladder. I will see a liver specialist this week. I'm anxious and afraid. I don't know that I will find my way back to this board, so if anyone has had their gall bladder removed while also having an hemangioma, I would be very grateful to hear from you. I can be E.mailed at ***@****
Thank you.
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7 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't know about the hemangioma, but if your body tries to pass the stones You'll most likely have emergency surgery. Has the doctor mentioned laser surgery? My gallbladder wasn't diseased, but they removed it because laser surgery was still experimental at the time. Would laser surgery be less risky?
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Avatar_n_tn
Individual,

Thanks for your response. Again, one surgeon told me that laser surgery wasn't an option due to the proximity of the hemangioma to the gall bladder and the nature of laparoscopic removal. It would be too easy during the procedure for the hemangioma to be pierced and I could bleed to death.

My gall bladder isn't diseased. I just have small "gravel-like" stones, but have heard that those are generally more painful than larger stones beause they move around more. As for emergency surgery, that's exactly what I'm trying to avoid. Who knows what kind of surgeon I'd end up with in an emergency. It would very likely be someone who has never removed a gall bladder under these circumstances.

***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
It would seem that you had an option before the stones were discovered, but if you had emergency sugery (regardless of the doctor) you could still bleed to death from the hemangiona-right? If it were me, I would have the hemangiona removed, then have the stones removed. However it turns out, try to keep your gallbladder. I have had trouble digesting food without mine.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have one or two hemangionomas (sp) only about 1-2 cm. and had my gallbladder removed, In fact it was adhered to the liver itself with scar tissue. I know they didn't bleed from the surgery, but I still hurt there after eating and like someone else here said, I have trouble digesting food without the gallbladder even though it needed to come out.
Yours are larger and I have heard they bleed a lot and that is why doctors don't like to touch them. I have not heard of them being pre-cursors to cancer however.
Good Luck. Keep us posted.
Taylee
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Avatar_n_tn
Individual,

There was no need for "options" as you put it before the gallstones were discovered. When the hemangioma was discovered  13 years ago, I asked many questions of many doctors and the general consensus was (including my internist of 25 years) that as long as the hemangioma gave me no problems, there was no need to remove it. That, in fact, many people lived their entire lives with liver hemangiomas. So, naturally, I left it alone. I'm not one to jump into surgery.

The gallstones are familial. My mother and grandmother and I developed them at the same age. I remember my mother having horrific gall bladder attacks. She put off removing her gall bladder for years until it had to be removed under emergency circumstances. Neither of them had liver hemangiomas. My educated guess is that the pain is strictly from the gallstones and although I only had intermittent attacks over the past four years, it's only in the the past two months that they've been more frequent and longer lasting. I will have the gall bladder removed because this is not the way to live, but unless I'm told there's a very significant reason to do so, I won't have the hemangioma removed. I'm sorry you've had difficulty digesting food since your gall bladder was removed. No one can anticipate what after effects they'll experience from any surgery. However, the situation with my gall bladder has severely altered my quality of life.

Savvy
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry it's been a while. I totally understand the quality of life thing. What I meant to suggest is that you should have the stones removed instead of the gallbladder, but I just realised that if you develope more stones the surgery would be more risky each time. Surgery is risky, but necessary in cases like this.
Good luck.
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